After setting up another appointment with my dermatologist after my 3rd course of Acctuane failed, I came across a thought:
Since Accutane is the "last-resort wonderdrug", I wonder what is after Accutane? What does a person do if Accutane does not work for them? If something as advanced and powerful as Accutane doesn't work, EVERY PRESCRIPTION AND EVERY OTC MEDICATION WILL NOT WORK.
This realization has caused me to lose all hope that one day I will have clear skin. I apologize to anyone who may have also lost hope after reading this. The question plagues me...what can be done for people if Accutane doesn't work?? The answer: nothing. Doesn't acne really suck...
[This message has been edited by Andrew29 (edited 09-04-2003).]
Part of the reason Accutane is referred to as "last resort" is because the myriad of problems that comes along with accutane. Any drug that has many adverse side effects needs to be weighed with the pros of using the drug. That's why ppl say accutane shouldn't be used, say for a 14 year old girl who breaks out once a month.
Accutane just wasn't the thing for *you*. Just because the media refers to it as a last resort wonder drug does not mean that its ineffectiveness for you has rendered you totally incurable. Don't let the hype about things invade your thinking. Hype is just that- hype.
Don't lose hope. There are many, many options out there, and just because one very extreme option has not panned out for you, does not mean that no other option will ever be useful.
Everyone is different, what doesn't work at all for one person, might work wonders for another. The dermatologist has to alter certain aspects of one's regimen to get the one best suited for him.
Simply because Accutane didn't work for you doesn't automatically suggest that no other regimen, whether it be topical retinoids or anti-biotics, will not work for you. Everyone considers acne to be a very treatable skin condition where new products are being put out on the market almost monthly.
I also believe that, with the rapid advances in medicine and medical technology, there will soon be a cure.
Don't lose hope, WAIT, You don't need hope! Just have confidence because I can promise you that there's something on the market that has to work for your condition.
I understand how discouraged you must be, but don't give up. The only thing that kept me going when I had severe acne was the belief that... where there is a will there is a way.
You just need a plan:
1. Have you thought about asking for a referral to an endocrinologist since the derm has not been able to resolve the problem with all the conventional and last resort medications? If they won't refer you at least get your thyroid tested.
2. Have you tried the following:
Saw Palmetto - to reduce 5-alpha reductase in the skin. This is the enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotesterone.
Flax seed oil - for linoleic acid. Studies have shown that linoleic acid levels are lower in acne sufferers.
3. Have you tried the protocol of salcylic acid, glycolic acid and BP described in the Acne Cure book. My son is using a modification of this protocol and it seems to be helping him.
Good luck and please don't give up.
[This message has been edited by U4IA (edited 09-05-2003).]
The most important thing to remember here is that you are luckly to be alive and healthy (minus your stage of acne, however severe or minor it may be). I too worry about not being able to heal or cure my acne but not matter what happens our lives are still going to go on. We can waste time being depressed and sad or we can just find ways to put those emotions behind us. Acne sucks, I know, but eventually if nothing works, time will heal it. It may take months or years but eventually you're skin will heal. The most helpful thing I've done was stopping the use of all antibiotics (both topical and oral). I try to use as little as possible but I also try to use something that will help keep my skin bacteria free, clean and feeling good. My skin has felt alot better since I've stopped the prescriptions. I am using a light facial wash w/ very low percentage of Salicylic Acid and an Oil Free Moisturizer by Neutrogena. I also started to use Regenerist on red spots or old pimple marks and it's helped substantially.
I hope my advice gives you some hope and confidence. It's so hard to put acne in perspective when you are a sufferer but as you've probably heard a thousand times, acne does not describe the person you are, you are not what you look like, you're what's inside. Sounds corny and may be very hard to understand at such a time but it is true.
You have support here so use it whenever you need to.
Good luck and hold on to hope. You'll find something that works for you eventually, it just takes time.
Some people have used Accutane, have it be ineffective, then used something else and have it work. Everyone's skin is different and works differently with various products. Don't lose hope. As for the acne cure, that would be nice, but you can bet that once it comes out it will cost like a bajillion dollars.
accutane is seen as the last resort ONLY because of its side effect on pregnancy and perhaps, the other side effects, too. If it weren't for these side effects, it'd be the FIRST line of defense against acne. So, don't despair. It's not the last resort because of its high effectiveness; it's the last resort because of its side effects. You will find something else that works. I suggest going to see a endocrinologist. The debate seems to be that if accutane don't work, then it's your hormones that are causing the acne.
(Didn't realize how long this is until I finish writing it.)
By the way, my above post is intended for you to change your way of thinking. If you think of it as a last resort, then you'd feel hopeless. If you think of it as first-line-of-defense-potential, then you'd feel less hopeless. I understand that feeling of hopelessness...I feel it all the time, especially when accutane was wreaking havoc on my face a few weeks ago.
Anyway, have you tried Proactiv? I swear, that stuff works. I don't care what anybody says. Yes, it's true that I've had relapse when I stop using Proactiv. The 3 times that I stop using it or swayed from the system, I've had really horrible, severe acne. I tried to go see a dermatologist and they prescribed me the same old garbage, like differin and retina, which caused my acne to become worse...A LOT WORSE!!! Usually, that is when I break down and go back to proactiv...and I become clear again. It happened 3 times and proactiv fixed me up 3 times. I'm not gonna lie and say that the effect is overnight...because it's not. It took me 3 weeks before I saw results, but some result is always good news...at least it's going in the right direction. It took me a couple of months before I got better, but people usually tell me that my skin is looking better by month 2 or 3.
My tip: YOU HAVE TO USE THE SYSTEM!!!! If you sway or get lazy, it's NOT gonna work. I've used it for many years and learned from every mistake I made.
You have to get the SULFUR MASK, too. Don't be cheap, pay the extra 20 bucks and get the sulfur mask.
I kept a journal of my progress with proactiv once and here is my regimen:
1. wash with proactiv cleanser for one minute (really exfoliate)
2. proactiv toner all over face
1. cleanse for one minute
3. and repairing lotion all over face
4. use the sulfur mask after cleansing, then tone and apply lotion
Week 2: Skin got worse!! More pimples, redder! There is some improvements, but small as compared to the harm done. Gonna give it 2 more weeks and that's it. Looks older. =(
Note: using mask every other 2 days now. (ie. Monday, then on Thursday, then on Sunday)
Middle of Week 2: Start using the repairing lotion twice a day: morning and night. And soon, will spot treat big ones with mask overnight (but not yet, in maybe 3-4 days.)
So here's the routine:
3. repairing lotion
3. repairing lotion
every other 2 days at night:
Week 3: SKIN IS GETTING BETTER!! =) =) =) YEA!!!
It's not perfect, of course, but it has gotten better. Skin feels smoother-less bumps. Less pimples. But still got scars, but...yay...PROGRESS!!!
Week 4:Skin has gotten a little worse. =( Did I jinx myself the last time I wrote? Is that why my skin is getting worse again?
(Then, I didn't write for a long time, maybe it was because I was busy, or maybe it was because it was making good progress and my acne was out of my mind. Ok, it wasn't out of my mind, but maybe I thought of it less.)
almost 3 months:
Skin has gotten better. Still can't say that I have clear skin, but better. Sometimes skin seems to be playing some sort of game with me; it gets better and then worse and then better. But overall, it gets better, just really slowly with a few speed bumps. grrr.
(Then, I just stop writing about it, but I know I just kept getting better...SLOWLY!! but positive progress is all we're asking for when we're desperate for a cure. We just want to know that someday we'll get there. As long as we know we'll get there is fine; don't have to be tommorrow or next month. Just be clear SOMEDAY. So, the positive progress kept me going. It didn't matter that it took me many months to get clear, all I care was that I kept getting better and better, even though it was slow. Other topicals made bad progress, so I quit. I didn't quit because it was slow in making my face better; I quit because they are garbages on my face!)
Note: I don't know when it began, but I eventually just use the cleanser ONLY in the morning, and use the whole system at night. And continue to use the mask EVERY 3 nights. Yup, I just decided to put less on. I think I started to do this along month 4 or 5 when my skin was really starting to look good. You know how you slack off when your skin is looking better and you figure you don't need all that other stuff on your face. But it might just be the key to you getting good skin; who knows, maybe your skin is really SENSITIVE and putting on a ton of stuff on your face won't work, but just make it worse.
Major note: YOU MUST USE THE SYSTEM!!! The system as in all 4 products, not the direction that comes with the products. They tell you to use the first 3 products every morning and night...but as you can see, I started out with less and ended with less. So, you must listen to your skin and don't put too much on it when it's screaming RED and RAW.
Good luck!!! By the way, I'm using accutane now, because I want to take care of my acne FOR GOOD!! I really hope it works!! For those of you, who've read some of my accutane post during those horrible times, you'd know that I've *almost* broken down and ran back to proactiv. So, I really believe this stuff. Lastly: YOU MUST USE THE SYSTEM!!! don't just use the cleanser and something other OTC acne-fighting stuff. It won't work. At least, I don't think so. GOOD LUCK!!
Internal: Accutane (3times), Minocycline (2times), Tetracycline (2times), PCE Dispertab, Proloprim, Flax Seed Oil, MSM, Zinc, Vitamins B5, B-Complex, E, C.
All this plus plenty of water and I try the best I can to eat properly. I don't eat any of the "myth" foods which may or may not cause acne. I don't smoke, and I change my pillowcase daily. After all of this, I still have very persistent acne. It's not a few pimples, it's actually an acne problem. Now do see why I believe I will never have clear skin...
[This message has been edited by Andrew29 (edited 09-06-2003).]